Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

December 18, 2002

Noted Whitworth Scholar Appointed Edward B. Lindaman Chair

Known widely as a visionary leader and a compelling speaker, Edward B. Lindaman drew national attention to Whitworth College during his 1970-1980 tenure as president. Whitworth Professor of Psychology James Waller, whose research, writing and public speaking on race relations and genocide have attracted similar national exposure, will serve as the next Edward B. Lindaman Chair.

The endowed chair was established shortly after Lindaman's death in 1982 in honor of the late business leader, educator and futurist's leadership at Whitworth. The position was reconfigured recently as a rotating chair for senior Whitworth faculty who are engaged in significant regional and national academic initiatives and who contribute to public dialogue around important social issues. Waller's three-year appointment, which follows a rigorous internal review process, begins in fall of 2003.

"This appointment is, in part, a recognition of the excellent work Jim Waller has already done as a teacher and scholar. But it also offers him an opportunity to focus more closely on social justice issues in the future with Whitworth students, the larger academic community and the public," says Tammy Reid, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Whitworth. "I see a significant link between Ed Lindaman's vision for anticipating and shaping the future and Jim's desire to understand past violence in order to achieve a more humane future."

Waller, who joined the Whitworth faculty in 1989, has distinguished himself in teaching, research, scholarly publications and presentations, campus leadership and community service. With the research funding and reduced teaching load that come with the Lindaman Chair appointment, Waller hopes to engage more students and faculty at Whitworth and around the country in cross-disciplinary research and dialogue around issues related to genocide studies, social justice and race relations.

"As a Christian scholar," he says, "I believe the concept of social evil -- whether it is racial prejudice, collective violence, or more general issues of social injustice -- to be one of the most pivotal spiritual challenges we face. As such, it is a central issue around which serious scholarship and public conversation should be centered. I plan to use opportunities afforded by the Lindaman Chair position to encourage such work in a number of ways."

Among a dozen talks he already has been invited to give over the coming year, Waller will deliver an address on the subject of his most recent book, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (Oxford University Press, 2002), at the Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania in March. In addition, he will chair a June symposium on psychological perspectives on genocide at the Fifth Biennial Conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars at the Irish Human Rights Centre in Galway, Ireland.

Waller plans to maintain his prolific publications record as well. Following the success of his latest book -- selected as a finalist for the Raphael Lemkin Award for Outstanding Book Published in 2001-2002 from the International Association of Genocide Scholars -- Waller has an agreement with the highly respected Oxford University Press to write two additional books on social evil. He also is writing a series of articles and book reviews in professional journals, including Holocaust and Genocide Studies, History of Psychology, and Journal of Genocide Research, and he is serving as the general editor for Deliver Us From Evil: Genocide and the Christian World, a volume of papers resulting from a seminar of the same name that Waller led at Whitworth this past summer under a grant from the Lilly Endowment.

Waller also will continue his work in race relations. Six years ago, he created the Prejudice Across America study tour to give Whitworth students firsthand exposure to the corrosive effects of racism and to the work being done by individuals and groups to bring about racial reconciliation. The tour has drawn national media attention and in 1998 was recognized by then-President Clinton's Initiative on Race as one of the nation's "100 Promising Practices to Promote Racial Reconciliation." Waller's book Prejudice Across America (University Press of Mississippi, 2000) chronicles the 1998 tour and was a finalist for a 2001 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Program for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America. Waller and Whitworth students will again be making the cross-country trip in January 2003.

Waller received his doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Kentucky in 1988. He is a member of the American Psychological Society, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and the Spokane Task Force on Race Relations.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Contacts:

Tammy Reid, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, (509) 777-3702 or treid@whitworth.edu.

James Waller, professor of psychology, (509) 777-4424 or jwaller@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

Related Links

Psychology Home Page > Department Spotlight >

Whitworth Press Release Index